Hanging Outdoor Drapes

DIY Outdoor Curtain Rods - so inexpensive, uses chain link fencing material !

Last week I shared some photos of an outdoor room that I’ve been working on since March.

Today I wanted to share a few more details about it… I’ve still got several projects “to do” out there but it’s a good start and now that the weather has turned to summer, I should be able to get them done!

I knew I wanted outdoor drapes under the deck.  I debated about buying the drapes or making them. After much research at my local fabric store and online, I elected to buy the drapes. I got them for a reasonable price. Turns out,  I could not find outdoor fabric cheap locally.  It ended up being close to a “wash” financially… so I elected to save the time and not make them (blasphemy I know, for a self professed seamstress *wink*).

However I was not excited about the price of outdoor drapery rod. Especially considering the fact that our deck is 20′ x 16′. That’s a whole lot of drapery rod!

Then one night I was wandering the aisles at Lowe’s and walked past the chain link fencing aisle, I realized the poles for chain link fencing would  would make great drapery rods.
-they are made to be outside
-they are inexpensive
-they are easy to cut to the right size

I was even more excited when I realized that I could use some of the chain link fencing materials to also hang the curtain rods!

So here’s how I did it:

Purchased fence poles that I knew would fit the rings on my drapery rod. Then I had my husband cut them to size.  The poles are meant to lock together with a large side and a tapered side, so just make sure that you cut the correct end of the pole, so they will still fit together.

When you have the rod the correct size, feed the drapes onto the rod. Then at the center of the rod (where you joined the 2 pieces if you needed to do that) and the 2 ends of the rod attach the U shaped bracket (it’s sold right next to the fencing, just make sure you get the right size).

Okay, something to keep in mind.  The curtain rod can not be flush up against the underside of the deck, otherwise the drapes will not slide back and forth on the rod easily.

Now, my husband and I sat and argued in Lowe’s for about an hour on how to fix this problem… to save you a potential argument, I’ll just tell you what we figured out… *wink*

Buy a LONG bolt to go through the U shaped bracket.  Feed the bolt through the bracket then behind the bracket attach 3 nuts.  This will give you a good buffer between the bracket and the wood.

To finish up… you can add the end caps to the ends of the poles to make them look nicer.

If you live in a windy area like me, you’ll want to attach the drapes to the deck to keep them from blowing away.

To do this I installed a hook to the beams on the deck, then used some hemp grosgrain ribbon to make a tie back. The hemp ribbon is a bit stiffer than normal grosgrain… I also got it in bulk, so if the tie backs start to look bad, I’ll just replace them.

Now the last problem to fix is how to keep the drapes from blowing in the wind when they are open… I need some kind of weatherproof temporary drapery weight- suggestions?

In the evening, the sun comes in so bright through this side of the patio (it gets right in your eyes!) So far, it’s been great to be able to close the drape and get some shade, so we can still enjoy the patio in the evenings!

I’ve received many questions about the outdoor room.. I’m planning a FAQ post on it soon, so if you have questions about the drapes, just leave a comment and I’ll answer them in that post!

Curtains from West Elm

Melissa Mortenson is the author of the Polka Dot Chair blog which is in its 7th year of sharing fresh and creative ideas with readers. She is the author of “Project Teen, Handmade Gifts your Teen will Actually Love”. Her first fabric line “Derby Style” debuted in January 2015 through Riley Blake Designs. A mom of 3, she considers herself lucky to be living in Kentucky.

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  1. says

    The little hooks with clips that you use to hang curtains could be used upside down. Just clip them to the bottom of the curtain and then anything with a loop could be hung off the hoop. Think fabric beanbags with ribbon loops or even rocks with little hoops epoxied on.

  2. says

    I’ve been thinking of adding curtains to our breezeway. You’re so right about the cost! I was thinking of just using muslin and replacing them every year, or as they wore out. Would you mind sharing where you found your’s? I’d love to purchase them if I can!


  3. says

    I’m not sure if this would work, but for my curtains inside, I use small fishing weights hidden in the hem to weigh them down. Maybe you could get heavier ones and slip them in? It may require the self proclaimed seamstress to make little pockets in the hem so they don’t all slide to one side though ;)

  4. says

    If you had the draperies professionally made, they should already have some sort of drapery weight in the corners. However, those weights won’t really cut it for outdoor breezes. I like one of the previous suggestions; cafe curtain rings clipped to the bottom (possibly just to the corners?) with a weight rod slipped through and attached to the rings. Good luck!

  5. says

    i would do fishing weights. they are meant to be submerged in water!

    love the drapes and the fencing materials were a fantastic idea!!

  6. Kattie says

    This was a great idea! I needed this before I spent way too much money on outdoor curtain rods. I had a problem with my curtains flying around to. I ended up sewing a length of lightweight chain into the bottom of each one. It is heavy enough to weigh them down, but still flexible so you can gather them and tie them back.

      • Sheri says

        You can also buy steel “rope” run it through the bottom hem and attach to an eye bolt screwed into your post. I used vinyl coated 1/8th” 50′, about $18 at lowes.

    • dale slive says

      I am not sure what type of lightweight chain you are talking about… we love our outdoor drapes but it is always breezy.. I can’t keep the panels together… or keep them down.. so the chain sounds like a good idea.. is it a home depot thingy??

  7. Michelle Gibson says

    We used electrical conduit for our poles and large eyelets screwed into the posts. We also used wood door knobs ssanded to fit each open end of pipe snuggly to keep the pole in place while still being able to take end off to wash. We did the same thing with smaller eyelets at mid height to tie back the curtains but had to upgrade to a heavier ribbon after a major windstorm. We’re going to go with the chain – like the flexibility. We used off sale curtains and threaded the curtain sleeve right over the conduit instead of grommets – just to save money and time. Looks fab!

    • says

      My best friend uses electrical conduit too for curtain rods. She uses it inside her house and they look great. I love the idea of the door knobs too! We bought chain to add to the hems of the drapes but haven’t done it yet. We figured out that if we clip the drapes together when they are opened (using metal clothespins ) that they don’t blow around as much.

    • Barbara says

      The doorknobs would not only look good in my area, but would keep wasp from nesting inside the poles! Good thinking!

  8. Sonya Lee says

    I used large canvas drop clothes for my curtains and just added the grommets for hanging them. It worked out great and way cheaper than buying curtains.

    • Adina says

      We also used drop cloths with grommets but no longer useable. Mold/Mildew and storm damage. Looking at buying clearance outdoor curtains but am still struggling with the bottoms due to wind the curtains blow like crazy!

      • says

        This year we bought drapes at IKEA they were not outdoor drapes but the price was SO good that even if they only last 2 or 3 seasons it didn’t hurt to throw them away. I think to get drapes that will last for years you have to spend a lot of $, which I did not want to do. The best way to keep them from blowing is to clip them TO EACH OTHER. I used alligator clips (from the office store) then clipped them to each other (on the sides) then clipped the 1st one to the pole, worked like a charm.

  9. Tina Francis says

    Thank you all for the tips on adding weight to your curtains. I have a large Gazebo and I use it year around. It came with mosquito netting, so to keep the rain out I attached extra long shower curtains(found at Walmart)to the inside. I used shower curtain rings and clipped them on the same sliding clips that my netting is clipped to. so when I open the netting they open along with it. The next problem was how to keep the shower curtains from blowing in, you could use snaps, but I used 1/2 brass fasteners(office section at Walmart) and took a steel skewer to make a hole through the trim of the netting and the shower curtain, pushed fastener through and bent back the fasteners. Works great. Hope this helps with anyone who wants to keep the rain out.

  10. Linda says

    I got great netting ccurtains at Ikea–REAL cheap and100% polyester to resist mildew. $9.99 for two very wide panels (110×98) They also have cabana stripes and plain white curtain panels that are 70% poly 30% cotton– $14.99 for two panels.
    My problem is weighting them in the wind.havent found a solution other than large fishing weights. Heavy chain is very expensive.
    I will use polyester cording for tie-backs.

      • T. Dale says

        My friend used the curtains with the grommets and turned them upside down. Now you have the holes on the bottom and you could just drape decorative chain through the bottom and stitch them to the corner bottoms of the curtain so they don’t slide out. Or use the curtain clips at the bottom and hang something heavy from those.

        Thanks for all the tips

  11. Lori says

    This is such a great idea. We just finished hanging our outdoor drapes this way. We found a slight improvement on the “stack of nuts” idea. We found a single 1 1/2 inch metal tube that is actually a galvanized electrical conduit connector. It comes with two small screws on the side, which we removed. This fit perfectly as a spacer over the lag bolt to give us room to open and close the draperies.
    I also picked up 1 inch PVC end caps at Lowes and spray painted them to match with Rustoleum hammered paint. (They were either in plumbing or electric.)
    Wish I could post a photo. We love it.

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  13. rebecca says

    I have used conventional lead weight cording for the hems of outdoor drapes. We live in a very windy area with tropical storms. My question is: do I have to remove the weights to put the drapes in the washing machine every time I wash them? This would be the same issue for all the above solutions – fishing weights, nuts, etc. Has anyone tried to put them in the washing machine?

  14. Priscilla Valentin says

    Hey Melissa,
    I love what you did with your space, where did you purchase your outdoor seating and what material is it made from, does it support heavy weight when sitting?

    • says

      I got it at Pottery Barn. It does support heavy weight as it’s the frame is solid wood. I have to admit though that the cushions have not held up well. They are mildewing excessively and are expensive to replace. Not sure what we’ll do next summer.

  15. Melissa Ruopp says

    This is so beautiful. I am looking for long outdoor drapes- where did you get yours and how have they held up in the elements? I love the fence pole idea. Thanks for sharing.

    • says

      I got them at West Elm a few years ago. They had the best price for the longest drapes. They have held up ok. They are dingy now and won’t bleach but not torn or frayed- I think that’s just what comes with buying white drapes.

    • says

      I got them at West Elm a few years ago. They had the best price for the longest drapes. They have held up ok. They are dingy now and won’t bleach but not torn or frayed- I think that’s just what comes with buying white drapes

  16. Derek says

    I loved seeing this option, but we are at the beach and have no shelter for the rod. We ended up buying marine grade stainless steel pipes with stainless steel mounting brackets to hang our curtains. It was reasonable relative to covering 42 feet of rod. The best thing is that this solution will never corrode. Tbe only tough thing is getting a pipe cutter to make them fit exactly. Total cost for 42 feet, not including the curtains was less than $400.

  17. Dorothy Evans says

    I use heavy magnets at the bottom of mine – just sandwich the fabric between the magnets. Come off easy for washing – voila!

    • donna says

      For weight at the bottom,I bought a grommet maker.
      I put a grommet in each corner of the bottom of the panel. Then using a tie back of some sort,tie the bottom of panels to corner posts at bottom base of post.Works great.

  18. says

    I buy the all cotton Lendl drapes @ IKEA. They are great outdoor fabric and I just throw them in the washing machine with a bit of OxyClean and they come clean as a whistle. Even takes out the bird poop. The first pair I got was $14.99, but they are more now. Love the idea of using fencing. I happen to have a really long piece behind my garage that I been wondering what to do with. Now I know.

  19. Sarah says

    I bought snap fixtures at Jo-Ann’s, you can get heavy duty ones, and you use a hammer to get them onto the fabric. I put them on my outdoor curtains and just snap them together, and they unsnap really quickly and easily. I still have a problem with the breezes, though, clipping them together doesn’t stand up to the wind.

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